Hannah Williams turned heads worldwide when the hip-hop superstar sampled her heart-stopping vocals on 'Late Nights & Heartbreak' for the title track, '4.44' on his 2017 album. Born in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Williams' father was a musically gifted minister, and her mother let her join the church choir at the age of six. Hannah could read music before she could properly read words, and when she discovered soul by listening with her mum to Motown and Bill Withers, there was no turning back. After a 2012 debut with her previous band the Tastemakers, it was 2016's Late Nights & Heartbreak that announced the arrival of Hannah Williams and the Affirmations. But little did she know that Jay-Z was listening. One day, at her then-day job running the music department at the University of Winchester, he sent her a text.
Once she'd established that it wasn't a wind-up, and summoned the courage to call him back, she learned that JayZ's producer, No I.D., had played him Hannah's track to inspire his response to Beyoncé's Lemonade, on which she sang of his infidelities. The substantial sample of her voice opened doors she never dreamed of. What followed was a year of the band's widest-ever touring including an invitation to perform at Central Park Summer Stage NY, Toronto Jazz Festival and Brooklyn Bowl NY and expanded audiences in continental Europe where she and the Affirmations had already made a mark. The captivating 50 Foot Woman (2019) is her sophomore album, produced by Shawn Lee, a respected presence on the funk/soul scene whose credits include Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey and Alicia Keys and released on Record Kicks in 2019.